Hunting, outdoors used as therapy for special needs kids

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Four children with special needs are on the hunt in Greenville this weekend. David Owens, 17, is one of those kids. Sometimes, it’s hard for him to do everything he wants to do because of his wheelchair, but he’s looking forward to a good time with USSA.

“I think it may be pretty fun, says Owens. “I’ve never been hunting before. I’m not really sure what the experience is going to be like.”

Brooke, 8, is another child taking a break from her daily struggles this weekend. She’s trading in her obstacles for a deer stand and the sight of some fall treasures.

“I want to see the leaves blowing and deer and rabbits coming out,” says Brooke.

The United Special Sportsman Alliance works to get kids connected with the great outdoors in many different ways.

“They say on the application if they want to go fishing, if they want hunting, if they want to go kayaking, if they want to go horseback riding,” says North Carolina’s USSA Representative Steve Tugwell. “We try to accommodate them for anything that they may want to do.”

Group organizers say the lessons learned and the experiences shared translate into lifetime memories and support.

“When the children leave Sunday morning, I want them to go away with a good feeling that not only did they have a great time in the outdoors, but they’ve gained a new friendship and become a part of a family,” says USSA Founder Brigid Odonoghue.

Those who enjoy wildlife are encouraged to join the effort.

“If you’re a hunter or a fisherman, I encourage you to get involved with the USSA,” says Tugwell. “Contact us.”

The nonprofit works with kids across the country and are always looking for ways to grant sick and special children’s wildlife wishes.

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